Bob Dylan has weighed in on the police killing of George Floyd in a rare interview published Friday.
The 79-year-old Nobel laureate said he was ‘sickened’ to see ‘George tortured to death like that’ in a conversation with The New York Times.
He also expressed fear that the ongoing coronavirus pandemic could be ‘a forerunner of something else to come,’ though the one-time born-again Christian doubted it was a biblical plague.
Rare chat: Bob Dylan, 79, addressed the police killing of George Floyd and the coronavirus pandemic in an interview with The New York Times published Friday; pictured in 2004
Dylan, who was born and raised in Minnesota, spoke about Floyd in a short follow-up chat with historian Douglas Brinkley on the day after his death, and prior to protests that sprung up in cities across the United States.
‘It sickened me no end to see George tortured to death like that,’ he said.
‘It was beyond ugly. Let’s hope that justice comes swift for the Floyd family and for the nation.’
Floyd was killed on May 25 by the white Minneapolis Police Department officer Derek Chauvin, who pressed his knee down into Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, including almost three minutes after he stopped breathing and became unresponsive.
Horrifying: Dylan, who was born and raised in Minnesota, said it ‘sickened’ him to ‘no end to see George tortured to death like that’; pictured in 2011
‘It was beyond ugly’: ‘Let’s hope that justice comes swift for the Floyd family and for the nation.’ Dylan spoke the day after Floyd’s death and before protests engulfed the nation; shown in 2011
After a multi-day delay, Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder (later upgraded to second-degree murder) and second-degree manslaughter.
He and the other three officers at the scene were fired from the MPD shortly after a video of Floyd’s death became public, and the other three were later charged with aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter.
When Brinkley asked if the Like A Rolling Stone singer thought of the coronavirus pandemic in ‘biblical terms,’ he was hesitant to declare it a punishment.
‘I think it’s a forerunner of something else to come. It’s an invasion for sure, and it’s widespread, but biblical? You mean like some kind of warning sign for people to repent of their wrongdoings?
‘That would imply that the world is in line for some sort of divine punishment,’ Dylan continued. ‘
Extreme arrogance can have some disastrous penalties. Maybe we are on the eve of destruction. There are numerous ways you can think about this virus. I think you just have to let it run its course.’
Getting worse: The Like A Rolling Stone singer said the coronavirus was a ‘forerunner of something else to come,’ but he shied away from calling it a biblical plague; pictured in 2012
Coming soon: He’s set to release his new album Rough And Rowdy Ways on June 19th. It’s his first full-length album since 2017 and his first album of originals since 2012
Dylan’s interview came in advance of his new album Rough And Rowdy Ways, which is his first full-length release since 2017’s triple album of cover songs, aptly named Triplicate, and his first album of original songs since 2012’s Tempest.
In April, he had his first number one Billboard hit with the advance single Murder Most Foul, which references the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the American culture shaped in the wake of that tragedy.
The nearly 17-minute song is his longest to date, eclipsing 1997’s Highlands by 25 seconds.
Though the song referenced major events of the 20th Century, Dylan saw it as tethered to events at hand.
‘To me it’s not nostalgic. I don’t think of Murder Most Foul as a glorification of the past or some kind of send-off to a lost age,’ he explained. ‘It speaks to me in the moment. It always did, especially when I was writing the lyrics out.’
First number one: In April, he had his first number one Billboard hit with the single Murder Most Foul, about the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the culture shaped in its wake
Dylan, a noted amateur painter, mentioned that he’d been able to keep up with his hobby while quarantining at his home in Malibu, though he admitted he hadn’t played his guitar much at home.
‘I do that mostly in hotel rooms. A hotel room is the closest I get to a private studio,’ he said.
The Blood On The Tracks songwriter concluded the conversation on how he stays health and keeps his ‘mind and body working together in unison.’
‘Oh, that’s the big question, isn’t it? How does anybody do it? Your mind and body go hand in hand. There has to be some kind of agreement,’ he said.
‘I like to think of the mind as spirit and the body as substance. How you integrate those two things, I have no idea. I just try to go on a straight line and stay on it, stay on the level.’
No practice: Dylan, who has been quarantining at his home in Malibu, said he hadn’t played his guitar much while home. I do that mostly in hotel rooms. A hotel room is the closest I get to a private studio’; shown in 2019